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San Diegans about to have more eviction protections

Barbara Green has been served several notices of eviction from her San Diego apartment. "I was totally stressed before I got help. I didn’t know what I was going to do," she said.

The single mom of three said she was caught up on her rent, but added that her landlord wants to give the family the boot using a loophole in eviction law: renovations. "The landlord is just greedy, and he’s never made proper renovations the whole seven years that I’ve been here. He just wanted to make more money," she said.

The Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, or ACCE, stepped in to help Green. And she's getting more help from the city of San Diego, through a temporary extension of eviction protections that close a renovation loophole.

But representatives for landlords say the ordinance adds an unnecessary burden for people who want to sell their properties, or who waited to do renovations because of the pandemic.

San Diego County homelessness spikes at least 10% since 2020, Task Force finds

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Homelessness in San Diego has grown by at least 10% since 2020, the Regional Task Force on Homelessness revealed Thursday by releasing its 2022 WeAllCount Point-in-Time Count, a one-day snapshot of the minimum number of San Diegans living in emergency shelters, transitional housing, safe havens and on streets and along riverbeds.

The count found 8,427 people experiencing homelessness across San Diego County, a minimum number.

"Either way you look at it, there are far too many people experiencing homelessness. We are also seeing more families, more people with disabilities, more women, more seniors, and more Black people, so there are some trends we are concerned about. Our Veteran numbers are down 30% from where they were in 2020, so that is very promising," said Tamera Kohler, CEO, The Regional Task Force on Homelessness.

Debate continues on Chula Vista tenant protection ordinance

CHULA VISTA, Calif. – After hours of heated debate, Chula Vista city leaders will take even more time to vote on new rules impacting rental homes.

On Tuesday, Chula Vista City Council voted to postpone taking action on a new tenant protection ordinance. Mayor Mary Casillas Salas believes the measure would fight “no-fault” evictions and lend help to families getting priced out in the tight housing market.

More than 50 speakers signed up to state their case before the council with two very different sides emerging, largely split between tenants and local landlords.

“We’re low income, so where are we going to go?” Dora Parra said. “I got two weeks. I’ve been at this residence 17 years.”

Decision on controversial renters' protections in Chula Vista postponed

CHULA VISTA, Calif. — After hours of public comment both for and against, Chula Vista's city council decided to postpone voting on a controversial proposal that would strengthen tenants' protections. 

This ordinance would essentially strengthen protections for tenants who are being forced out of their rental units through no fault of their own.

These no-fault evictions include a property owner who wants to undertake substantial renovations; remove the property from the rental market; or have a family member move into the unit.

Under the ordinance, in most cases, landlords would have to provide 60 days notice to renters to vacate and provide relocation assistance.

Imperial Beach's Siesta RV Park finally sells

A few years ago, residents of Siesta RV park in Imperial Beach caught a lucky break when plans to sell the land to a developer fell through.

Now, after a surprise change of ownership in January, residents say they are struggling anew. Rents are going up for many, utility bills seem inflated but there's no one to call for answers, and some tenants - and their trailers - are forced to move out every six months for 48 hours.

On the Siesta website, lots are said to rent from $800 to $1600. According to Andy Hall, Imperial Beach city manager, there are mobile home slips and recreational vehicle slips. The latter can be used only if there is no permanent residency. Thus the required rotations.

Landlords sue Alameda County over eviction ban

The state’s most powerful landlord group, the California Apartment Association, on Thursday sued Alameda County to end its broad eviction moratorium.

The suit marks the latest step toward dismantling COVID-19 protections for tenants, as health risks have diminished and many state and local programs and efforts have expired.

The Alameda County moratorium, enacted in March 2020, is one of the few surviving protections in the state. It essentially bans all evictions, either for nonpayment or other reasons, to keep renters from being displaced during the health crisis. Los Angeles also has a moratorium in place, and has been sued by the local landlord association.

LA Tenant Groups Are Suing California Over Decision To End Rent Relief

Los Angeles tenant groups are suing California’s housing department, alleging that the state’s decision to wind down its rent relief program on April 1 unlawfully cut off applicants waiting for funds and put them at risk of eviction.

California’s Housing and Community Development Department stopped taking new rent relief applications at the end of March. It also denied requests from April onward. The program had previously distributed relief for “prospective” rent that applicants couldn’t pay.

PRESS RELEASE: Tenants-Rights Groups Sue CA For Failing To Provide Rental Assistance To Eligible Tenants

Los Angeles, CA – The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) is being sued by tenants’ rights groups Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE Action) and Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE) over its failure to provide the full amount of rental assistance intended by the law establishing the state’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), putting tenants at increased risk of eviction and homelessness. ACCE and SAJE are represented by Western Center on Law & Poverty, Public Counsel, and Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles.

As people waited for HCD’s often onerous system to process applications, HCD abruptly stopped accepting applications on March 31, 2022, cutting off people in need of assistance after that point even when they qualify for but have not yet received their full 18 months of rental assistance. Specifically, the suit says HCD is not providing assistance for prospective rent or expenses incurred after March 31, 2022, even for eligible households that submitted an ERAP application before applications closed.

This means applicants who were unable to pay April rent or beyond could still face eviction even if HCD approves their application, thereby defeating ERAP’s goal of preventing eviction and stabilizing households.

As LA City Hall Reopens, Virtual Public Comment At Meetings Has Gone. Not Everyone Is Happy About That

After being closed for more than two years due to COVID-19, Los Angeles City Hall has reopened to the public.

However, the reopening has brought mixed feelings to those wanting to participate in civic engagement.

While some visitors were excited to talk to City Council members face-to-face, several others believe the decision to strip away virtual public comment is a big problem.

"People have jobs; they can't just come in here to do one public comment when people already got used to being able to do that over the phone, at their work or at their home where they're safe," said Sergio Vargas, the lead organizer for the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.

Public able to attend LA City Council meetings in person for first time since March 2020

The public was able to return to meeting at the Los Angeles City Council chambers Wednesday for the first time since March 2020. 

With COVID restrictions lifted, the council has allowed members of the public to return in person and has also ended the ability for people to comment remotely which some people say should still be an option.

Adam Smith of West L.A. spoke at the meeting saying "good to be back in the room," but added:

"I do think it's really troubling that, accessibility-wise, people can't call in and give public comment anymore. ... Accessibility has always been an issue at these meetings, and folks that are disparately impacted by the policies coming out of this room have trouble coming in to give public comment on a weekday morning."

LA City Council lets public into meeting for first time since March 2020

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — With COVID-19 restrictions now lifted, the public was allowed into the Los Angeles City Council chambers during the body's meeting Wednesday for the first time since March 2020 — but with people no longer able to comment remotely, most of those who spoke urged council members to reverse that decision.

Adam Smith of West L.A. was the first to speak at the meeting Wednesday, and told council members that it's "good to be back in the room." But he added:

"I do think it's really troubling that, accessibility-wise, people can't call in and give public comment anymore. ... Accessibility has always been an issue at these meetings, and folks that are disparately impacted by the policies coming out of this room have trouble coming in to give public comment on a weekday morning."

Alcaldía de Los Ángeles reanuda el ingreso del público a sus reuniones

El público podrá ingresar a las cámaras del Concejo Municipal de Los Ángeles durante la reunión del Concejo Municipal de este miércoles por primera vez desde que COVID-19 cerró el Ayuntamiento al público en marzo de 2020.

Sin embargo, las personas ya no podrán brindar comentarios públicos si participan en la reunión a distancia.

El Concejo Municipal tuvo reuniones virtuales por teleconferencia durante el primer año de la pandemia, y las reuniones en persona continuaron para los miembros del consejo en junio de 2021 antes de regresar brevemente a un formato remoto en enero debido a la rápida propagación de la variante Omicron.

Sin embargo, desde marzo de 2020, el público tiene prohibido ingresar a las cámaras y ha podido hacer comentarios públicos llamando a las reuniones. Con las reuniones abiertas al público, las personas ya no podrán dar comentarios públicos de forma remota, según la agenda de la reunión del miércoles.

L.A. City Hall is reopening after two years. But security will be tighter

For nearly 26 months, tourists, residents and other visitors have regularly approached the doors of Los Angeles City Hall, only to be waved off by police officers at the building’s Main Street entrance.

On Wednesday, the building will finally reopen to the public. But security will be more restrictive than it was before the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘Gimme Shelter’: Why mold and sewage complaints evade L.A. apartment inspectors

Earlier this year, code enforcement officials at the city of Los Angeles cleared the Chesapeake Apartments in South L.A. after a required inspection that was supposed to ensure its rental units were habitable. The complex has 425 apartments and takes up multiple city blocks.

But the city’s clean bill of health belied the numerous problems with mold, sewage leaks, faulty smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and other issues that tenants say have plagued the massive complex for years. Beyond that, a 2020 investigation in LAist found Chesapeake Apartments’ owner has been accused by tenants and multiple government agencies of allowing similar conditions across a more than $1-billion real estate empire that’s centered in Southern California.

Thousands of Bay Area renters could be in jeopardy amid new wave of aid denials

Da Vina Teasley paid the rent regularly at her Richmond home for two decades before COVID-19 hit.

The pandemic took away her job, sent her to the hospital for a week, and now threatens to leave her family homeless. Teasley applied for $40,000 in rental assistance in December for the first time, and was rejected by the state program for “inconsistent or unverifiable information.”

Despite repeated calls to the state by Teasley and her attorney at the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, they haven’t been able figure out what more documentation the state needs.

‘Slumlord’ conditions reported at South LA apartment building

Activists with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) joined tenants recently to call on the California Attorney General to intervene and hold a landlord accountable for allegedly allowing slum conditions and endangering the health and safety of residents.

Residents of the apartment building on Obama Boulevard in the Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw area say they live with black mold, faulty heaters and broken pipes that spew raw sewage.

“These conditions cannot continue to go on like this. People are going to the hospital,’’ said Zerita Jones, who lives at the property, in a statement provided by ACCE.

Kicked out for repairs: How San Diego, Chula Vista plan to curb evictions

David Zimmerman had big plans when he moved into a four-bedroom house in North Park. He would split the $2,500 monthly rent three ways with roommates and take full advantage of the backyard — starting a garden, hosting parties, maybe even raising chickens.

Zimmerman only had a verbal agreement to live there, but he said the property owner was his friend’s mom. He said he didn’t think twice about it because she made him feel part of the family.

Residentes de un edificio en el sur de Los Ángeles se quejan de la administración

Inquilinos de un complejo de apartamentos de 400 unidades en el sur de Los Ángeles protestaron  contra el propietario quien, según ellos, se niega a abordar las condiciones inhumanas en las que viven.

South L.A. tenants protest apartment conditions

KTLA 5 - South Los Angeles tenants were protesting apartment conditions on Thursday that they say are making them sick.

Mold and sewage plague South L.A. apartments even after inspections, tenants say

Sabrina Dolan is convinced that her apartment is poisoning her.

Black, mold-like spots dot the windowsill in her living room. They appear on her bedroom windows along with signs of termites. The spots also cover a corner of her bathroom, and no amount of scrubbing can make them go away.

Recently, she’s been coughing up chunks of thick, dark mucus.

And no matter how many times she says she complains to her landlord at the South Los Angeles apartment she shares with her fiancé, nothing ever gets repaired.

Crenshaw Building Tenants Allege Bad Conditions, Ask Officials To Intervene

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Activists with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment joined tenants today to call on the California Attorney General to intervene and hold a landlord accountable for allegedly allowing slum conditions and endangering the health and safety of residents.

Residents of the apartment building on Obama Boulevard in the Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw area say they live with black mold, faulty heaters and broken pipes that spew raw sewage.

"These conditions cannot continue to go on like this. People are going to the hospital,'' said Zerita Jones, who lives at the property, in a statement provided by ACCE.

New Data Shows Who, Exactly, Got Evicted the Most During the Pandemic

In December 2020, three months after his family received an eviction notice from their landlord, Gabriel Guzman felt a bitter mix of sorrow and anger as he and his wife, Elena Porras, gathered with friends at their Chula Vista, California, home to pack up their belongings. They had two days before sheriff’s deputies might arrive to lock them out of the white-paneled, single-story, three-bedroom house they’d rented for just over a year. Guzman himself had been living in Chula Vista since 2000. After serving in the Marines at Camp Pendleton and then as a reservist, he worked as a property manager for over a decade—first with mom-and-pop real estate firms and later with larger ones. 

Undocumented community urges Contra Costa County to expand CARES program

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — The undocumented community and supporters are calling on Contra Costa County officials to expand a program that provided vital healthcare to thousands amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2015, the county passed the Contra Costa CARES program, a healthcare program for uninsured adults living in Contra Costa County. The program has been able to provide much-needed healthcare to more than 8,000 undocumented individuals. Since the inception of the program, primary care services have been provided to thousands, with more than 33,000 visits to date.

“Because of CARES, I was able to remove the tumors in my breast before they became life-threatening,” said CARES recipient, Ana Gonzalez. “I am in the fight for CARES because when we are healthy we can work and give to our community – today for me, tomorrow for you.” 

How shuttering schools can speed up gentrification

LA TIMES - Public school districts across California have been facing plummeting enrollment for five years, a trend spurred by pandemic struggles, falling birth rates, out-of-state migration, among other factors.

Because funding for California public schools is based on student attendance, districts may soon be facing big budget shortfalls, if they aren’t already — although legislative discussions are underway to possibly ease the hit. One way districts are addressing this problem, however, is by shuttering schools with dwindling student enrollment. In February, Oakland school board members voted to close seven of the city’s public schools by 2024. Some L.A. Unified schools also face uncertain futures.

California legislative leaders move to extend COVID rent relief, eviction protections

Anti-eviction signs decorate the Rodney Drive apartments in Los Feliz.

LOS ANGELES TIMES — A week before California's eviction moratorium was scheduled to expire, top Democrats in the Legislature announced a proposal on Thursday to extend COVID-19 pandemic protections for tenants by another three months so the state can finish sending out rent relief payments.

Assembly Bill 2179 would move the date on which landlords may initiate eviction proceedings from April 1 to July 1, as long as an application is submitted by March 31 to a rent relief program. Democratic legislative leaders said the extension would give applicants more time to receive the help and avoid losing their homes.